In a stunning turn of events, the Saturday evening show by Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia transformed into an unexpected reunion of the iconic group, the Fugees. Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel joined the singer on stage at The Mann Center, igniting an electric and unprecedented atmosphere among the audience.

Before bringing Wyclef and Pras to join her on stage, Hill shared with the crowd that while the performance was intended to celebrate the 25th anniversary of her acclaimed solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, there was another anniversary they had planned to commemorate but couldn’t due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crowd’s anticipation grew as they understood what she was referring to. Soon enough, Jean and Michel appeared alongside her, and together they embarked on a nostalgic journey, delivering a string of timeless classics from the Fugees’ second and final album, The Score. The renowned backing band, and hosts of the festival, The Roots, provided exceptional musical support throughout the reunion performance.

Reflecting on the significance of the reunion, Questlove, the drummer for The Roots and co-curator of Roots Picnic, took to Instagram to express his awe. He recounted how in 1993, the Fugees, then an unknown band, opened for The Roots in Philadelphia at The Trocodero—a gig that occurred shortly after the Fugees signed with a major record label. Questlove marveled at the journey that had brought them all together after 30 years, and he expressed gratitude to Ms. Lauryn Hill for allowing them to celebrate not only her iconic album but also reuniting her fellow Fugees members. He acknowledged that this might be one of the last times they would witness such a gathering of this legendary group.

Apart from a one-off show at Pier 17 in New York as part of a Global Citizen streaming event in 2021, the Fugees had not performed together as the Fugees since 2006. Plans for a full arena tour commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Score were postponed and ultimately canceled entirely.

Additional complications likely contributed to the tour’s cancellation. Around the same time, reports emerged regarding a U.S. government investigation into Michel for alleged white-collar crimes related to his association with Jho Low, a fugitive businessman accused of embezzling over $4 billion from a Malaysian state investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Recently, Michel was found guilty on multiple charges, including finance violations, money laundering, illegal lobbying, witness tampering, and lying to banks. Although he has yet to be sentenced, he could face a maximum of two decades in prison for these convictions.

Considering the gravity of Michel’s situation and the group’s limited collaborative endeavors in recent years, the impromptu appearance of the Fugees at Roots Picnic may mark their final performance for a considerable period, if not indefinitely.

Watch the magic of the surprise Fugees reunion at Roots Picnic below.

Ms. Lauryn Hill
Roots Picnic – The Mann Center – Philadelphia
June 3, 20 23

Set: Everything Is Everything, Superstar, When It Hurts So Bad, Final Hour, Lost Ones, Ex-Factor, To Zion, Nothing Even Matters, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You (Frankie Valli), Doo Wop (That Thing), The Score (Fugees) [1], How Many Mics (Fugees) [1], Zealots (Fugees) [1], Ready or Not (Fugees) [1], Killing Me Softly With His Song (Fox/Gimbel/Lieberman; Fugees) [1], Fu-Gee-La (Fugees) [1]

[1] with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel (Fugees)